Maya Sriram is holds MA degree in Economics from Madras University with a B Ed. Currently she is working as a writer. She is an Elle Fiction Award Winner, 2010. Poem Short listed in the All India poetry Competition in 1994. Let us know more about her writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing very early. I wrote my first poem when i was seven so I am not sure what inspired me to write. But I think we can blame Enid Blyton and Joe March from Little Women for my desire to become a writer. The former inspired me with her stories and the latter by being a character i wanted to become- a woman writer.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
Enid Blyton of course, Winnie – the -Pooh, Wind in the willows, L M Montgomery’s Anne of the Green Gables, Little Women and in my early teen Agatha Christie and Jane Austen.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
The greatest challenge for me is sustaining hope, fighting off despair. Sometimes it feels like you are digging your way through a dark tunnel with no sign of light. That is when you start questioning the purpose of your work; the chances of success of publication even if you finish your book and such doubts can be crippling.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I think it depends on the book. For my first book I wrote most of it and then did my research to answer the questions that came up during the writing of the first draft. In the case of my second book, I had to do extensive research to test even the validity of my premise, let alone about the background and setting of the novel.
What motivated you to write the book “B*tch Goddess for Dummies”?
I am not sure if ‘motivation’ is the word i would use. It was more like an idea that i fascinated me and I decided to explore it. A lot of the women I knew would often lament the fact that they were ‘too Nice’ and that they would be more successful if they were ‘Nastier”. That idea first amused me and then caught my fancy and so Mira was born.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Music Season”?
This is a book that i have just finished and in conversation with some agents about publishing it. With this book, I have moved into the literary genre space.
This is the story of Tara, daughter of a famous Carnatic musician, who returns to Chennai to confront the questions that haunt her about her mother’s suspicious death. The book also explores the complex relationship between Tara and her twin Shruti and also between the two girls and other characters who are almost family yet not quite. The novel follows Tara in her journey and how she deals with the many secrets that get revealed as she unravels her mother’s story.
How did you came up with the idea of writing humour fiction genre book(B*tch Goddess for Dummies)?
I love humour , I am often making people laugh so I guess humour is an intrinsic part of my personality. However, I don’t think I deliberately set out to write humour. The innate idiocy in the idea of a woman actually seriously trying to become a “B*tch Goddess” lent humour to my way of dealing with the story. But I should tell you that it is very hard to write humour and if I had actually set out to do that I might have probably failed.
Who are your favourite authors?
It is a long and constantly changing list. The unchanging ones are Jane Austen and John Steinbeck. Current favourites are Donna Tartt , Barbara Kingsolver and Julian Barnes to name a few.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
When I am in the midst of a project I am very regular- I write for 5 to 6 hours a day. When I am in-between projects I write for an hour or two and use the rest of the time to catch up on my reading. I find that I am unable to read when i am writing so this works very well for me.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Read. Write. Read some more. Write some more. Write every day. Keep a journal. Revise , revise, revise. Don’t be in a hurry to publish. Send it out only when you are sure there is nothing more left for you to do to make it better.
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